The three official symbols of Québec City—its logotype, flag, and coat of
arms—feature related elements including a vessel with billowing sails, a
crenellation, a motto, and specific colors. Each of these elements carries
its respective meaning, which come together in the city’s official symbols.
The logotype appears on the official letterhead of the city’s various
departments and on city property.
“A golden vessel with billowing sails on an azure background with a
crenellated silver border.” Like its coat of arms, Québec City’s flag bears a
The crenellated edge recalls Québec City’s status as a fortified city like
Brouage in Saintonge, France, the birthplace of the city’s founder.
Coat of arms
“Azure on a base barry-wavy Argent and Azure an ancient ship under full sail
Or, on a Chief Gules fimbriated Or two keys in saltire Or surmounted by a maple
leaf Vert, the shield is ensigned with a mural coronet, masoned Sable with ports
Gules, and the motto is DON DE DIEU FERAY VALOIR”meaning, “I shall put the gift
of God to good use.”
The key on right represents Québec City, the capital of New France, of Canada
during the early British Regime, and then of Lower Canada. The one on the left
represents the capital of Québec since Confederation. Together, these keys
recall the city’s political and municipal history.
This symbol evokes Québec City’s Canadian character and represents its entire
ethnic makeup as well as the patriotic and civic spirit of its residents.
The crown recalls Québec City’s status as a fortified city like Brouage in
Saintonge, France, the birthplace of Samuel de Champlain, Québec City’s
The motto “Don de Dieu feray valoir” [I shall put the gift of God to
good use] pays homage to the Christian faith, symbolizing the spiritual, moral,
and social values of Québec City’s courageous and industrious residents. It also
represents the city’s hopes and dreams, which are rooted in its very foundation.
The symbolism of the ship
With its billowing sails, the vessel is the central element of the city’s
flag and coat of arms and figures on its logotype.
It recalls Québec City’s founding in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, arriving
from Honfleur. It also represents the maritime history of the city, whose major
historical figures—explorer Jacques Cartier and founder Samuel de Champlain—were
both navigators. It further honors the maritime history of the city, which was
one of the world’s major shipbuilding hubs in the mid-nineteenth century. Its
billowing sails represent the strength and valiance of its residents.
The colors used have specific heraldic meanings. Gold symbolizes strength,
faith, justice, wealth, longevity, and brilliance. Silver symbolizes humility,
purity, charity, truthfulness, and victory. Azure represents sovereignty,
majesty, serenity, good reputation, knowledge, clarity, and loyalty. Red
represents love, pain, grandeur, courage, generosity, valiance, and intrepidity.
Green represents hope, renewal, abundance, beauty, liberty, and joy.